JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Kentucky Wolf Spiders Save Big with this Life Insurance Loophole

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Laura Sullivan-Beckers

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

During courtship and copulation many male spiders are at risk of being cannibalized by their female partner. Male Rabidosa rabida, a wolf spider, have evolved a tactic to induce females into a quiescent state in which the female becomes immobile for several minutes, putatively enabling the male to escape. Although, the mechanism which males use to cause this change in female behavior is unknown. As a continuation of a 2019 study, we isolate three potential mechanisms and allow males to interact with females. These mechanisms are isolated by ablating the male fangs, pedipalps – and thusly ejaculate transfer, and cuticular organs on their legs that potentially release semiochemicals. The initial results suggest that males with ablated cuticular organs were less likely to induce the quiescent state in the females. Here, we add to this data and provide complete results. Additionally, we present results from an analysis of cuticular organ structure using SEM and semiochemical analysis by GC-MS. This study will help determine the mechanism and function of male induced female quiescence in R. rabida, with implications for other animal systems with male manipulation of females.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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Kentucky Wolf Spiders Save Big with this Life Insurance Loophole

During courtship and copulation many male spiders are at risk of being cannibalized by their female partner. Male Rabidosa rabida, a wolf spider, have evolved a tactic to induce females into a quiescent state in which the female becomes immobile for several minutes, putatively enabling the male to escape. Although, the mechanism which males use to cause this change in female behavior is unknown. As a continuation of a 2019 study, we isolate three potential mechanisms and allow males to interact with females. These mechanisms are isolated by ablating the male fangs, pedipalps – and thusly ejaculate transfer, and cuticular organs on their legs that potentially release semiochemicals. The initial results suggest that males with ablated cuticular organs were less likely to induce the quiescent state in the females. Here, we add to this data and provide complete results. Additionally, we present results from an analysis of cuticular organ structure using SEM and semiochemical analysis by GC-MS. This study will help determine the mechanism and function of male induced female quiescence in R. rabida, with implications for other animal systems with male manipulation of females.